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OT-ish: Concussions in the NHL


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#1 IKnowPhysics

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 12:39 PM

Recent report indicates that despite rule changes in the NHL, concussion rates have not changed: http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=427916

More interestingly, and big clues towards likely reasons why, are the numbers behind the story:

Quote

The researchers estimated there were about 5.23 concussions per 100 games in the NHL regular season. Despite its stiffer rule, the OHL didn't have markedly different concussion rates, clocking 5.05 per 100 games in the regular season.
The analysis also showed that the type of hits outlawed by the NHL rule weren't actually the major cause of concussions.
About 28 per cent of interactions produced a concussion also generated a penalty call, said Cusimano. In that 28 per cent, the bulk of the penalties were for fighting. "And blindsiding, which was what the rule was initially was written about, was only 4.1 per cent of all those.... But four per cent of 28 per cent is a very small number."
"I wasn't totally surprised, but I was disappointed that we weren't able to show a difference," Cusimano said.
"Part of it's the way the rule's written. Part of it's the way the rule is enforced. Part of it's the penalties associated with the rule. And part of it is that concussions are also coming from other causes like fighting, that is still allowed."

NBC re-reported the article: http://prohockeytalk...ncussion-rates/

Quote

Cusimano and his researchers said 64 per cent of NHL concussions were caused by bodychecking, while 28 per cent of concussions — and 28 per cent of suspected concussions — were caused by illegal incidents that resulted in a penalty, fine or suspension.
As for solutions, Cusimano came up with four suggestions: banning fighting, stiffer penalties for teams/players that cause concussions, changing equipment regulations and looking at different ice sizes and dimensions.


#2 Ghost of Dwight Drane

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 01:13 PM

There would be no hangovers if we just outlawed alcohol.

#3 qwksndmonster

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 01:45 PM

View PostGhost of Dwight Drane, on 18 July 2013 - 01:13 PM, said:

There would be no hangovers if we just outlawed alcohol.
:yawn:

Well gee, who would have thought that the NHL's lackadaisical approach to "player safety" wouldn't get results?

#4 LTS

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 01:56 PM

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"So it's like his fault, because he put himself into a vulnerable position. And this highlights one of the major problems in sport and particularly in hockey these days. We victimize the victim even more, rather than looking at the game and the system and saying: 'What can we do to reduce these injuries?"' Cusimano said.

This isn't really victimizing the victim.  How many players these days turn their back at the last minute in an effort to avoid being hit at all?  A player adopts that strategy and it is inevitable that they will end up getting crushed.

The purpose of sport is to win and that means doing whatever it takes.  Players who won't "take the hit" to make a play will end up being criticized, not just by the coach but by media as well.  Players who won't get to the "dirty areas" or who have "happy feet".  This is called out by analysts, fans, etc. all the time.

There's no option to eliminate the potential for concussion.  I'm not entirely certain that a game played at the speed of hockey can do too much to reduce the chances without significantly altering the game or changing equipment.  My concern is that changing equipment lowers concussions but increases other injuries.  I suppose a broken elbow is better than a concussion, but how much better.

#5 Eleven

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 02:00 PM

I think that Chris Pronger was on the cover of SI for Kids once.

#6 d4rksabre

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 03:45 PM

View PostEleven, on 18 July 2013 - 02:00 PM, said:

I think that Chris Pronger was on the cover of SI for Kids once.

:w00t:

#7 Andrew Amerk

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 11:36 PM

Wow.

Someone points out a problem, and doesn't suggest a solution?

SHOCKING.

#8 superdave

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 09:10 AM

The instigator rule allows players to make "questionable" hits without fear of reprisal from opposing players.  I'd say that plays a small role in the continuation of the level of concussions.  Probably the biggest impact is that there is much more attention paid to concussions and diagnosed much more often now than before.  There may be a reduction in actual concussions but yet an increase in diagnosed concussions.  Many industries experience an increase in reported accidents when they go on a new safety campaign.

#9 IKnowPhysics

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 10:25 AM

It notes that the "bulk" of concussions that were associated with a penalty were the result of fighting.  Does repealing the instigator rule effectively reduce the amount of illegal contact, or does it increase the amount of fighting-related concussions?

#10 superdave

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 10:36 AM

View PostIKnowPhysics, on 19 July 2013 - 10:25 AM, said:

It notes that the "bulk" of concussions that were associated with a penalty were the result of fighting.  Does repealing the instigator rule effectively reduce the amount of illegal contact, or does it increase the amount of fighting-related concussions?

I think that repealing the instigator rule would reduce borderline hits because the "hitter" would not really want to have to fight afterwards.

#11 Spndnchz

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 10:44 AM

View Postsuperdave, on 19 July 2013 - 10:36 AM, said:

I think that repealing the instigator rule would reduce borderline hits because the "hitter" would not really want to have to fight afterwards.

Then you'd have more fights and more concussions caused by fighting, no?

#12 superdave

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 10:49 AM

View PostSpndnchz, on 19 July 2013 - 10:44 AM, said:



Then you'd have more fights and more concussions caused by fighting, no?

Does the instigator rule eliminate fights?  I don't think so.  If a player hits another player in a manner that is questionable, but does not draw a penalty, then he gets away with it.  If a player goes to defend his fellow player, then he is penalized.  There is a benefit to the team of the player that made the borderline hit since the instigator rule will penalize the player for protecting his team mate.  Of course, this is just my opinion.

If they want to reduce fighting (and the resulting injuries), they need to do away with the staged fights that happen at the drop of the puck.  They serve no purpose in reality.

#13 weave

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 11:16 AM

View Postsuperdave, on 19 July 2013 - 10:49 AM, said:

Does the instigator rule eliminate fights?  I don't think so.  If a player hits another player in a manner that is questionable, but does not draw a penalty, then he gets away with it.  If a player goes to defend his fellow player, then he is penalized.  There is a benefit to the team of the player that made the borderline hit since the instigator rule will penalize the player for protecting his team mate.  Of course, this is just my opinion.

If they want to reduce fighting (and the resulting injuries), they need to do away with the staged fights that happen at the drop of the puck.  They serve no purpose in reality.

The instigator rule does eliminate fights.  Not all of them of course, but the number of fighting majors dropped immediately following passage of that rule and never came back up to pre-rule numbers.

#14 superdave

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 11:26 AM

View Postweave, on 19 July 2013 - 11:16 AM, said:



The instigator rule does eliminate fights.  Not all of them of course, but the number of fighting majors dropped immediately following passage of that rule and never came back up to pre-rule numbers.

Maybe my thoughts are affected by the fact that I don't like the instigator rule.

#15 weave

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 11:30 AM

View Postsuperdave, on 19 July 2013 - 11:26 AM, said:

Maybe my thoughts are affected by the fact that I don't like the instigator rule.

I don't either.  I'm the resident creator of fight threads.  But a fact is a fact.

#16 IKnowPhysics

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 11:55 AM

View Postsuperdave, on 19 July 2013 - 10:49 AM, said:

They serve no purpose in reality.

It used to be, and there's no news here, that fights were the result of high emotion in a game.  At some point, years and years before the insitgator rule was implemented, they were also used as a method of injecting emotion into a game to fire teammates up.  It now seems that with the instigator rule, that's the only purpose they serve.  But to get rid of this type of fight, you'd have to get rid of fighting.  Not many want that (I sure don't).

From purely a player safety perspective, however, I'd bet the instigator rule measurably decreased the number of concussions.

In a long term perspective, yeah, you don't want any guys ###### up their squash so bad that they're mush-mouthed vegitables after their careers.  But that's a sort of accepted result in guys with long careers in boxing.  So in a game like hockey, where there's a codified allowance for bareknuckle boxing, I'm not sure that the fighting-related concussions are really what the team owners are worried about (I would hope the NHLPA is worried about all of their players).  I observe that the team owners care more about the the high skill guys, the big contract, high salary cap-hit guys, getting season-ending and career-ending injuries. These concussions destroy franchise players and cost millions in paid salary to the un-playably injured, and it is these concussions the team owners want to focus on eliminating.

#17 K-9

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 12:51 PM

View Postsuperdave, on 19 July 2013 - 09:10 AM, said:

The instigator rule allows players to make "questionable" hits without fear of reprisal from opposing players.  I'd say that plays a small role in the continuation of the level of concussions.  Probably the biggest impact is that there is much more attention paid to concussions and diagnosed much more often now than before.  There may be a reduction in actual concussions but yet an increase in diagnosed concussions.  Many industries experience an increase in reported accidents when they go on a new safety campaign.

This seems contradictory. Are you speaking to the severity of concussions?

More than anything, medical science has caught up to the fact that what used to be getting "dinged" or "getting your bell rung" are indeed actual concussive events. And every time you sustain one of these seemingly mild hits, the chances of getting another one and of a more severe variety, exponentially increases.

GO SABRES!!!

#18 Spndnchz

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 12:53 PM

View PostK-9, on 19 July 2013 - 12:51 PM, said:

This seems contradictory. Are you speaking to the severity of concussions?

More than anything, medical science has caught up to the fact that what used to be getting "dinged" or "getting your bell rung" are indeed actual concussive events. And every time you sustain one of these seemingly mild hits, the chances of getting another one and of a more severe variety, exponentially increases.

GO SABRES!!!

I think he means that before maybe there were 50 concussions but they only caught 15 of them and now maybe there's 40 concussions but they catch 25.

#19 superdave

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 01:27 PM

View PostK-9, on 19 July 2013 - 12:51 PM, said:


More than anything, medical science has caught up to the fact that what used to be getting "dinged" or "getting your bell rung" are indeed actual concussive events.

View PostSpndnchz, on 19 July 2013 - 12:53 PM, said:

I think he means that before maybe there were 50 concussions but they only caught 15 of them and now maybe there's 40 concussions but they catch 25.

Spndchz got my drift, but the quote at the top means that you understand my drift too, but maybe I wasn't clear.

Back when I was playing school sports, we didn't get concussions, we just got our "bell rung".  I've had my bell rung until I was unconcious, but I've never had a concussion.

Edited by superdave, 19 July 2013 - 01:30 PM.


#20 skaught

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 02:02 PM

View Postsuperdave, on 19 July 2013 - 01:27 PM, said:

Spndchz got my drift, but the quote at the top means that you understand my drift too, but maybe I wasn't clear.

Back when I was playing school sports, we didn't get concussions, we just got our "bell rung".  I've had my bell rung until I was unconcious, but I've never had a concussion.

That's funny, I've had a concussion, but I never got my bell rung... :P

Edited by skaught, 19 July 2013 - 02:03 PM.


#21 K-9

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 02:11 PM

View Postsuperdave, on 19 July 2013 - 01:27 PM, said:

Spndchz got my drift, but the quote at the top means that you understand my drift too, but maybe I wasn't clear.

Back when I was playing school sports, we didn't get concussions, we just got our "bell rung".  I've had my bell rung until I was unconcious, but I've never had a concussion.

Appreciate the clarification.

Scary to think about all those seemingly innocuous events when we played ball back then. None of them were not serious, all are now known as concussive events, and all have a cumulative effect on brain functionality.  

That may explain a few things.

"Nurse!"

GO SABRES!!!

#22 superdave

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 02:12 PM

View Postskaught, on 19 July 2013 - 02:02 PM, said:



That's funny, I've had a concussion, but I never got my bell rung... :P

Posted Image
Back in my day, we didn't have all these new fangled concussions.  We just got our bell rung, and we liked it, weeeeeeee loved it.

#23 IKnowPhysics

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 01:00 PM

Frontline has aired a story of how Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) was discovered in NFL players, then ignored and aggressively suppressed by the NFL with PR and shoddy research.  Very eye-opening.  It is a must-watch for football fans, and it has serious implications for many contact sports, including hockey.

http://www.pbs.org/w...ague-of-denial/

Rick Martin was diagnosed with CTE.

Quote

Later analysis revealed that Martin had stage 2 chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a disease normally associated with enforcers; the damage was believed to stem from a severe concussion Martin sustained in 1977, and it had no effect on his cognitive abilities. Martin is the first non-enforcer to have been diagnosed with the disease, which can only be diagnosed posthumously.

Quote

Repeated concussions and injuries less serious than concussions ("sub-concussions") incurred during the play of contact sports over a long period can result in CTE.


#24 LGR4GM

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 01:27 PM

To add a study came out in April 2013 that rule 48 has done nothing to reduce the number of concussions in the NHL.  There is actually a trend of more concussions (this may be due to the extra testing and recognizing of concussions).

#25 K-9

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 04:22 PM

View PostLGR4GM, on 09 October 2013 - 01:27 PM, said:

To add a study came out in April 2013 that rule 48 has done nothing to reduce the number of concussions in the NHL.  There is actually a trend of more concussions (this may be due to the extra testing and recognizing of concussions).

I think this is correct.

One thing I'd like to see professional leagues adopt is the technology currently available that lets sensors in the helmet send real time data about the severity of the hit directly to medical personnel on the sidelines, etc. If this level exceeds a previously established baseline, the player is automatically removed from the game BEFORE the next hit has the potential to create a worse concussive event. As I've stated previously, once the first concussion is sustained, the next one is exponentially easier to get, requires less force to do so, and will produce more negative symptoms.

#26 Ghost of Dwight Drane

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 04:58 PM

The average NFL player makes close to $3 million for 8 hours of actual work that counts during the regular season.



#27 K-9

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 05:56 PM

View PostGhost of Dwight Drane, on 09 October 2013 - 04:58 PM, said:

The average NFL player makes close to $3 million for 8 hours of actual work that counts during the regular season.

Actual work?

I get your point that they only collect paychecks during the season, but they are "actually working" all year round, including OTAs, mini-camps, training camps, and pre-season games.

Not sure what your larger point is.

#28 LGR4GM

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 08:22 PM

View PostK-9, on 09 October 2013 - 05:56 PM, said:

Actual work?

I get your point that they only collect paychecks during the season, but they are "actually working" all year round, including OTAs, mini-camps, training camps, and pre-season games.

Not sure what your larger point is.
They get paid a ton of money and there are hazards of the job.